EL PASO, Texas – Washington’s run through the WNIT came to an end on Monday night at UTEP. In front of 10,227 loud fans, the Miners prevailed, 70-63. The Dawgs (20-14) battled back from a second-half deficit, but could not hang on as the Miners (28-7) prevailed.
Washington got 22 points and eight rebounds from Talia Walton, but it was not enough playing in front of a raucous crowd at the Don Haskins Center.
The Dawgs finish the season with a third-straight 20-win season, accomplishing that feat for the first time since 1988-89 through 1990-91. The Dawgs will return 10 players as seniors Mercedes Wetmore and Kassia Fortier have now completed their careers. Wetmore played in her 126th game in purple and gold on Monday, an all-time Husky record.
The Dawgs got off to a hot start, leading 12-4 just over five minutes into the game. Washington made three early 3-pointers, two coming from Wetmore, while Aminah Williams added a 3-point play.
UTEP would battle back, before the Dawgs extended back to an eight-point lead with 8:49 to play in the half. That would prove to be the biggest lead of the game for the Dawgs as UTEP finished the half on a 19-9 run to take a 32-30 advantage to the break. Plum picked up her third foul midway through the half and was forced to the bench for the rest of the period.
After the break, UTEP would a hold a slim margin for much of the half. The Miners never led by more than five as every time they looked to extend, the Dawgs had an answer. The Huskies would reclaim the lead with 6:24 to play when Jazmine Davis made a free throw after Walton tied it with one of her four 3-pointers.
The Dawgs would get the lead to three on a Plum jumper, but the Miners would respond and take the lead for good with 4:28 to play. UTEP used a 10-run to build a 64-57 lead with 2:22 left. Washington refused to go quietly as Walton and Davis made late 3’s to cut the lead to two, but the Miner made their free throws in the final minute to hang on.
Washington shot 38.1 percent for the game, including 9-32 from 3-point range. UTEP won the battle of the boards, 50-36, and shot 28 free throws to just 11 for the Dawgs.
The attendance was a UTEP record for a women’s basketball game. The 10,000-plus made themselves known as it was easily the loudest, most hostile environment Washington played in all season.
The Huskies finished one game short of the WNIT Final Four, but there is much to be excited about as the UW program continues to be on the rise. The Dawgs return four starters, including Davis, a three-time All-Pac-12 player and Plum, who just set the Pac-12 freshman scoring record.